Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen was ejected from a sectional qualifying event today in Rockville, Maryland, for wearing metal spikes on his golf shoes.
Janzen shot 75 during the first of two rounds at Woodmont Country Club before being notified that he violated a local club rule barring metal cleats.
Janzen is one of more than 800 golfers competing today in 11 sectional events for 57 spots in next week’s U.S. Open championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. The number of spots grew by one today when Richard Sterne withdrew from the Open.
While professional golfers are permitted to wear metal spikes, most U.S. courses only allow players to use soft, plastic spikes on their shoes to prevent damage to putting surfaces.
“It’s the player’s responsibility to know the rules of competition,” Michael Cumberpatch, a U.S. Golf Association rules official overseeing the Rockville qualifying event, said on the Golf Channel. “The shock from most people here is that a player would wear metal spikes and not know they weren’t allowed. Somehow he fell through the crack.”
An e-mail was sent to all players informing them of the course rules before the sectionals. Janzen acknowledged on Twitter that he received the e-mail.
After this weekend’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, many players remained in the area and teed off at one of two qualifying sites in Columbus, Ohio. A total of 120 players, including 1997 PGA Championship winner Davis Love III, Masters Tournament winners Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman and 1996 U.S. Open champion Steve Jones, are among those competing for 15 spots in the championship at Merion, outside of Philadelphia.
Vijay Singh, who is suing the U.S. PGA Tour after he was suspended for using deer-antler spray, withdrew from the field in Columbus, while U.S. PGA Tour rookie Scott Gardiner is playing with a set of clubs pieced together by an assistant pro at the Lakes Golf & Country Club. Gardiner’s clubs failed to arrive on his overnight flight. He had to purchase shoes from the club’s pro shop, the U.S. Golf Association said on its website. Gardiner shot a 7-under 65 in his first of two rounds with the borrowed clubs.
At Lakewood Country Club in Dallas, 68 players are competing for four spots. British Open champions Justin Leonard and Todd Hamilton are in the field, as is two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jordan Spieth, who holds the course record of 62, shot during the 2009 Byron Nelson Junior Championship.
In Newport Beach, California, Steve Irwin, the 38-year-old son of three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, and Andy Miller, the 35-year-old son of 1973 champion Johnny Miller, are among 102 players competing for five spots. Beau Hossler, 18, is attempting to qualify for his third consecutive U.S. Open. Last year at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Hossler briefly held the lead during the second round before finishing tied for 29th.
Casey Martin, the University of Oregon men’s golf coach who successfully sued the U.S. PGA Tour in 2001 for the right to ride a cart because of a degenerative circulatory disorder, is among 34 players competing for two spots in Cle Elum, Washington. Martin, 41, qualified for last year’s Open six years after ending his professional career. He also played in the Open in 1998.
The first two qualifying events took place in England and Japan a week ago. England’s Paul Casey and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal qualified at England’s Walton Heath Golf Club.
The U.S. Open, golf’s second of four annual major tournaments, is scheduled for June 13-16.
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